In As You Like It, the court refers to the royal court of Duke Frederick. It is the civilized setting from which the main characters flee after Duke Frederick's tyrannical behavior causes problems.
The civilized world of the royal court is contrasted with the wilderness of the Forest of Arden. While the comedy and romance occurs in the woods, the court is packed with political intrigue and danger. Many of the characters end up in Arden because of the persecution they face at court. Duke Frederick usurped his own brother, Duke Senior, forcing the latter to flee into the safety of the woods. Duke Frederick also banishes his niece Rosalind, who has only been allowed to remain at court as long as she has because she is close friends with the duke's daughter Celia. The young Orlando runs from the court and into Arden due to his older brother's cruelty.
Duke Senior characterizes the court as a world of artifice and treachery in his famous "sermons in stones" speech from act 2, scene 1. He decries the "painted pomp" of court life, preferring the pastoral simplicity of the forest. In the court, people appear civilized but act without honor. By contrast, Arden is a world in which people come together to find refuge. While the woods has its own dangers (such as wild animals), the characters all seem to find it easier to manage than the court.